We have established on more than on occasion there is an app for everything in the app store. Apparently, there will be apps for navigation in space soon. A pair of iPhones are slated to head into space on the last space shuttle mission later this year. The devices aren’t going as part of some advertising campaign, but I would bet the fact finds its way into some marketing campaign in one way or another.
The two phones will be running an app designed by a company called Odyssey Space Research called SpaceLab for iOS. The app is experimental and the crew will perform four experiments using the app while in space. The app apparently uses the iPhone cameras, gyroscopes, and other sensors and the instructions on performing the experiments are included in the apps so no printed instructions will have to be sent up saving weight. The iPhone 4 was certified for spaceflight.
Odyssey designs space navigation systems, but notes that the iPhone will not be used for mission critical guidance on this mission. The four experiments include a limb tracker that takes a photo of the curved edge of the earth and then estimates the iPhone altitude. A sensor calibration tool uses camera images and other sensors to calibrate the iPhone gyroscope and accelerometer. The app will also estimate latitude and longitude using photos of the Earth and the app will test to see if space radiation affects computer memory by looking at unintended changes to bits in the iPhone RAM.